Feeling the Cotton Love on a Dairy Farm!

Cotton is the Fabric of Our Lives guest seriesIt has been a while since I have had a guest post in my series of cotton being part of our daily lives. I love that Ashley Messing Kennedy took me up on the offer.  She’s a long-time friend who got me out of my comfort zone and into Michigan in the dead cold of winter.

Not only did I get to see ice sculptures while I was there, but I also had the chance to learn a bit about dairy farming and meet some of the dairy farmers in that area. It was a great experience for me. One thing I noticed…. folks in the dairy business were really interested in the fact I was so passionate about cotton, especially since they knew a very different side of my favorite fiber crop.

cotton guest post

Cotton is Everywhere, Even in Cows

You know that saying, “You are what you eat”? If that truly is the case, the cows on our farm must be partly made of cotton! That might sound strange to you, but in a way it is the truth.

cottonseed in the barnOn my family’s dairy farm we feed our cows a mix. In the mix; called a ration, we blend all of the ingredients in what we call a mixer wagon. Our goal is to provide the cow with exactly the nutrients she needs in each bite of feed she takes.

You are probably asking how this relates to cotton at all. One of our favorite ingredients is a leftover from the cotton ginning process. We actually feed our cows cottonseed.

We add the cottonseed in our ration because it has some wonderful advantages for the cows. With the type of digestive system a cow has they can eat a lot of things we cannot. (Editor’s note: Can we eat cottonseed? may be an interesting read for you. 🙂 )

Cottonseed in your hand

The oil inside of the seed is extremely healthy for cows. With the cows working hard producing milk, we need to make sure they are eating enough energy. The cottonseed still has some of the fibers on the outside too. The fibers are helpful in a cow’s digestive system as well. In the same way we eat vegetables to keep our digestive systems moving and healthy, the fibers help do that along with other ingredients.

Although the cottonseeds are a leftover from the ginning process, what is one farmers trash is another farmer’s treasure. In dairy farming we have found out that cottonseed is a valuable resource to help feed our cows. If you want to learn more about our family dairy farm come see my blog at MessyKennedy.com.

If you have a particular connection to cotton or simply have a favorite item of cotton clothing, feel free to join the series of guest posts. There’s a lot more info here for your consideration.

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About Janice Person

I'm Janice & this blog is about my passions -- photography, travel, agriculture & whatever else comes to mind. Putting all those things together is intriguing to me…. I can spend a lot of time soaking it up! It's almost always a colorful adventure!

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10 Responses to Feeling the Cotton Love on a Dairy Farm!

  1. Suzie Wilde (@KissedAFarmer) June 13, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

    Cottonseed is a valuable part of our commodity these days. So much so that we now insure our cottonseed as well as the lint portion of our crops. And don’t forget that cottonseed is the best oil to fry your Thanksgiving turkey!

  2. Freida June 25, 2014 at 12:57 am #

    What an interesting post! It’s never really occurred to me of all the various ways cottonseed is used! Now I’ve heard of cottonseed oil, but I didn’t know I’ll need to add it to my grocery list come November! Thanks for the tip, Suzie! Having read that, plus Ashley’s piece on feeding it to her cows, it caused my curiosity to rise to wonder just what else it’s used for. So I checked with my BFF (aka Google) and found it’s also used in many, many things from cosmetics to fertilizers! I had no idea!
    Janice, in case you don’t recognize my name, I’m your #1 fan in Tupelo who has planted some cotton in my yard for the sake of nostalgia! So far, everything is going fine as compared to the cotton fields I see here in the county. I keep hoping I’ll catch one of the owners for a quick chat so I can better understand their process and explain my interest in this magnificent crop.
    Last week we had a full week of torrential rains, so I added more sand to the soil hoping to help with the drainage. Some of the plants are now reaching 8-10″, so I’m assuming they are happy here with me! I have been taking photos of their progress, and come fall, I would love to share the rewards (crossing fingers here!) with you on your blog. Needless to say, this has been quite a learning experience for a 60 yr old Southern gal, but one that’s brought me closer to my roots!

    • Janice Person July 1, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

      I love it! Cant wait to see photos!

  3. Chelsea Koroleski September 8, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

    Great idea. the only problem is for crop farmers that produce the corn and hay along with many other crops, the cotton seed is great for carrying other seeds such as weed seeds which once digested and pooped out and spread back on the field creates a giant weed problem for crop fields.

    • Janice Person September 11, 2014 at 10:58 pm #

      Yes, I’ve heard about farmers having this issue and have talked with Ashley about the measures they take. We agree that all farmers need to be conscientious in controlling weeds, the cotton farmers and the farmers who feed cotton seed to their animals too.

  4. Jenn Weinberg September 26, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

    I really enjoyed this post! I use cotton seed hulls in my show cattle feed but never took the time to think about HOW exactly cotton is a part of everyday farming life. Thank you for sharing information on how the cotton as a “left-over from ginning,” is incorporated into the feed. I found that so relevant to my own feed program and interesting too!

    • Janice Person September 26, 2014 at 11:36 pm #

      So glad to hear it Jenn! Have a great weekend!

  5. selvaraj August 18, 2016 at 9:04 pm #

    I have planned to start poultry form and planned to open stall for selling cottonseed for cows. Hence i would like to know your contact numbers for communicating further for make purchase order.

    • Janice Person August 18, 2016 at 10:17 pm #

      I’m sorry but I don’t actually sell cottonseed… there is an open market that commodity traders can access for you.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Mmmmmm Good Farm Blogs in Michigan & Minnesota - April 15, 2015

    […] Messy Kennedy is the name of the farm blog Ashley Messing-Kennedy (hence where Messy Kennedy comes from) writes! She and her family farm in Bad Axe, Michigan — producing milk, beef, black beans, corn, wheat and hay. She’s a long time social media friend! I still think about how much I learned by going to a dairy conference up there and I had a chance to see ice sculptures in Frankenmuth. And some of you may remember her guest post on cotton’s role with dairy. […]

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